But there is one important thing to consider when talking about the impact from any changes in laws relating to illegal immigrants, and that is most (if not all) INS inmates held by private operators are illegal aliens THAT HAVE COMMITTED ANOTHER FELONY. There are very few, if any, that just hold illegal immigrants who's only crime is coming into the country without a pass.
Good point, except that a few years ago, the feds passed a law (it has a long, high-faluting name which I cannot remember at this time, and no, I'm not senile yet) designed to stop free flow of people across the border that actually made it a crime to be in the country illegally. Here's how it worked (or still works): the first time they catch you, they throw you back just like a small fish. The second time, they arrest you, you have a hearing and they find you guilty and then they throw you back. After that, you of course have a record, so when they catch you again, they arrest you, try you, find you guilty of being in the country illegally AGAIN and you do some time. Then when you've served your time, you get sent back. The idea is to "deter" people from coming over. I have never read this law, but it was explained to me this way by a gentleman who is a U.S. Marshal, who ought to know.
Where this is relevant to the privates is that at least two facilities in San Diego were built specifically to hold these folks pending hearing or post-sentencing. One is run by CCA and the other by Wackenhut.
So you see that now the definition of "criminal alien" is not just someone who has committed a crime as we would understand a crime to be, but someone whose crime is that he keeps coming over here when he's been told to stop.